The Muslim Brotherhood has rejected the Egyptian interim president's plan to return the country to democracy. The group, which supports ousted President Mohammed Morsi, has called for more street protests.
Essam al-Erian a deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, used a posting on the social media web site Facebook on Tuesday to denounce the presidential decree announced just hours earlier, saying it "brings the country back to square one."
Erian added that it was now clear that "they are not just targeting the president but the identity and rights of the people, their freedom and democracy."
His statement came as tensions remained high in Cairo and in other cities around Egypt following a particularly violent day in the capital.
Emergency Services chief Mohammed Sultan said at least 51 people were killed and more than 400 others wounded outside of an army barracks in Cairo on Monday. The Muslim Brotherhood has accused the army of opening fire on its supporters as they demonstrated against President Mohammed Morsi's ouster by the military. The army has blamed the shootings on "terrorists."
Adli Mansour, who was a top judge before being appointed by the army as interim president last week, has called a commission of inquiry into the killings.
More protests planned
A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman said the organization's supporters would be back out on the streets in force on Tuesday.
"Each province is organising funerals and rallies, and each province will have a central sit-in," Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad told the AFP news agency.
The Muslim Brotherhood statements appeared to be a severe blow to the interim president's plans to restore order to the country.
Late on Monday, the president unveiled his plans to restore the country to democratic rule.
Under the plan, a group of legal experts is to be appointed to amend Egypt's constitution, which was drawn up by an Islamist-dominated assembly and endorsed in a referendum after the ouster of long-time strongman Hosni Mubarak in early 2011. This would be followed by parliamentary elections to be held by the end of next January, after which a date for a presidential vote would be set.
Mansour's plans to appoint a civilian administration to lead the country up to the next elections had suffered an earlier blow when the sole Islamist faction that backed Morsi's removal, the conservative al-Nour party, pulled out of coalition talks in response to what it termed the "massacre" outside the Cairo barracks.
pfd/jm (AFP, dpa)